Outdoors Magazine

2013 - The Blogging Caper Continues. A Year in Review.

By Hikingfiasco @HikingFiasco

lower kalimna falls at night

'This is the way - Step inside'

Another year done? I was contemplating an epic overview of the year, but I think I've overstayed my welcome with way too many word heavy posts over the past 12 months. I guess my mood is not helped by an arm, which feels like it's been belted by a Yeti who's on the gear. That's the thing about prolapsed discs, the pain is referred, so every infernal throb is confined to the arm. I guess there goes my arm wrestling ambitions?
Anyway, instead of banging on, I'll just throw together some photos which didn't make it to the blog during the year. Actually, in scrolling through them, I'm amazed how many walks didn't get a write-up. Maybe I'll take a fresh look at a few and scratch something together at a later stage, in order to give them a bit of notoriety, rather than being condemned to an external hard drive and never seen again.
See the photo at the top? That was a result of a misguided attempt to take photos of Lower Kalimna Falls near Lorne at night. The savvy reader will know I've been there a few times before, but I always wondered what a waterfall would look like at night. Guess what? All it did was look the same, but at night. Kind of obvious? Here it is here.
lower kalimna falls at night

Well, the photos didn't inspire, so Ben decided to rock a new approach. It's nice to have a different set of eyes looking at the same scene. He discarded a traditional landscape look and came up with the idea of the opening photo. I guess the exposure was around 45 seconds? We used two cameras and his photo, which is similar, but a lot darker, was selected in a portrait exhibition at Ruffian Gallery, Footscray. I loved it, as I've always been intrigued by darkness. Good work Ben!
Remember the Canon 100-400mm lens I bought? Its size means I haven't lugged it on many strolls, but it's more than handy for a jaunt around Albert Park Lake after work. I was in the process of doing a 'birds of Albert Park Lake' post, but it never came about. Maybe I'll give it a go again if I'm not able to hike for a while. I must say, the lens kills for bird photos. Getting some reach makes it so much easier to get a feathered image, rather than tip-toeing around in what's usually a futile attempt to get a closer shot.
Anyway, the next few pictures were of a strange moment. At the sporting ovals there are a number of light towers and a group of corellas were going bananas on them. I wandered over for a perusal and after they looked at me, one proceeded to do a bizarre continual spin on one of the light cables. You'd think he was putting on a show. I've no idea, but I loved how the wings appeared in the photos. There are more, which I really like, but I guess I might hold them back for the upcoming bird post. It is approaching, although at glacial speed!
long billed corella wings spread

I kid you not, but he spun around the cable about 20 times at high speed. I cranked the shutter speed up to warp level, otherwise he would have been a blur. I'm glad I did.
long billed corella wings spread

I'd like to think it happened only because I was watching. He kind of looks happy?
long billed corella wings spread

What else? I must say, what missed out the most this year were my frequent coastal excursions. I like mountains, but there's something I find cathartic about the coast, particularly in wintry conditions. I guess I didn't write up many of these trips as they've appeared in the blog before? I think I've got to get out of that thinking, as in the end, what does it matter if I keep going back to the same places repeatedly?
The most obvious is Cape Schanck and Bushrangers Bay. I've no idea what the allure is, but it's the one place I've repeatedly gone to over the past 30 years! You know how obsessed I am with the joint? I've even put into my will that my ashes are to be spread off Elephant Rock at Bushrangers Bay. Yeah, it'll be a pain for whoever does it, as there's no carpark nearby. You've got to walk, but at least it'll give someone a chance to stretch their legs?
Oh yeah, let's not forget the coast along there. The high cliffs on the walk have a nice viewpoint if the weather is a little gnarly. I was there on a freezing day in winter and I always try and hang around during sunset for the chance of sighting some rain clouds out at sea. The bone chilling conditions came through with the goods. Again.
rain over ocean at sunset

The Cape Schanck Lighthouse is always an old favorite during sunset...
cape schanck lighthouse at sunset in winter

...and I'm never sure which photo I like the most. So, instead of choosing, I'll give you a couple as the sky darkened...
cape schanck lighthouse after dark

...until it was night.
cape schanck lighthouse at night

How about Wilsons Promontory? I had a tale of woe with that joint during the year. I had a couple of attempts at the northern circuit, but both were curtailed for different reasons. One was when I strolled to Five Mile Beach, but wasn't feeling crash-hot. I set-up my tent and went to bed at 4.30 pm, as I felt quite sick. I definitely had some sort of bug and upon waking in the morning, I had one of those, "What am I doing here?" moments and abandoned.
The second time I was accompanied with Ben and Smuffin. This time, Ben wrenched his knee and he threw in the towel, so it was another miss! It doesn't really matter. I'll knock it off one day. I wasn't even going to write about it, but after looking at the photos, there are plenty of nice ones, which would make the post worthy. Oh yeah, some are also quite frankly, disturbing, so I really need to put pen to paper. The place is beautiful and here's some nice morning reflections in the tannin darkened waters of Miranda Creek near Five Mile Beach.
reflections on water miranda creek wilsons promontory

There was also something else I forgot about. It was the famed, 'look-at-this-great-bit-of-timber-and-it-will-be-cool-to-have-it-set-up-in-the-lounge-room' moment. Yes, this water soaked piece weighed a ton and I'm not sure why, but I lugged it all the way back along the 18 km road from Five Mile Beach. Actually, the Smuffin was meant to put some wood-stain on it. Hang on? Where is it? It's definitely not in my lounge room, so I better get onto him about that.
How do you carry this large piece of timber? Well, just strap it to your pack. That's how...
walking on five mile beach wilsons promontory

Wilsons Promontory never disappoints and on another trip I finally got to the top of Mount Oberon. I seemed to have missed it on each previous visit. In one way, I was lucky to climb it when the wind was face-shredding and rain clouds were flying past Tidal River. Mm... Okay, there's another post I need to write. Here's the view from the top...
view from mount oberon summit wilsons promontory

I guess this was also the year where I stepped up a notch in photographic equipment. Buying the Canon 6D was the best camera decision I've ever made. I can't get enough of the lightweight full-frame, complete with wi-fi, which I thought would be a bit of a gimmick. The Canon app on the iPhone though, works beautifully for long exposures, so I rarely use a remote cable release anymore.
Point Lonsdale Lighthouse was flogged mercilessly and I have dozens of night photos, which look exactly the same. Just like the next one. The reason I'm slotting this in, is I can't believe the modern DSLR when it comes to insane ISO's. I'll never get my head around this, although I'm more than happy to exploit it. At ISO 3200, this image is perfectly usable.
point lonsdale lighthouse at night

Come to think of it. One evening when passing Mount Macedon, I noticed the summit was covered in cloud and wondered if I could get a couple of snaps. This is the result. With barely any light, I took a handheld photo of the Mount Macedon cross at ISO 12800. Yeah, it's grainy, but without a tripod I still can't believe I could get any image at all. I could barely see a thing in the dark and clouds.
cloud covered mount macedon cross

Anything else? Not really. There was the odd walk where not a lot happened, so they always missed out. Down near Moggs Creek along the Great Ocean Road, I first started playing with longer exposures. I'm sure you'll see some more long exposure abuse next year.
long exposure photo of water in creek

So, it's time to wrap this up. Not the most epic year in overnight hikes, but there were plenty of day ones to keep me occupied. Blogging wise, the stats have gone through the roof. I can thank Russian spam a fair bit for that. How's this for an example? My end of year post from a couple of years ago is hit upon incessantly. Believe it or not, but this post titled 'The Blogging Caper. Another Year On. December 2011' has had 28,000 page views. At a guess, I reckon 90% has to be fake. Who knows? Maybe a few photos in it appear somewhere, but I doubt it. Oh well, a stat is a stat I guess.
I must say, thank you to all the people who dropped by, as blogging can be a strange undertaking. I've said it before, but most of the time it feels like I'm having an extended conversation with myself. I'm sure anyone who blogs will recognize that feeling? I appreciate lurkers, but I must say a special thank you to others who have taken the time to comment. Interaction can certainly keep a blogger motivated, as there's plenty of 'why am I doing this?' moments!
Actually, during the year I can only remember one abusive message? I reckon that's quite good going? As a certified blogging dictator I promptly deleted it. I think it's important not to give dickheads any oxygen, so if any crap appears I utilise delete!
What's to come next year? Who knows, as I don't really have any plans. Ben has been placed in charge of fiasco merchandise. Before you know it, there will be the opportunity to buy fiasco cushions. Yeah okay, it sounds pretty bizarre, but I'm leaving it up to Gen Y to sort that one out, as he has grand plans.
I almost forgot, but I was pretty excited to get a couple of articles published this year. Firstly in Wild magazine and then another in Go Camping Magazine. Actually, I haven't really mentioned the latter, so maybe that'll be the next post, where can spend some time pumping up my tyres and trying to convince you I'm really good? It's a big call, but I'll give it a go.
Oh yeah, this is just an observation, but the outdoor magazines and publications in Australia are really, really crap at social media. They should be killing on Twitter and lifting their profile for here and overseas, but they're barely noticed. Maybe I'll volunteer to be the official social media commandant for the outdoor magazines? If not, I might try and get the odd article published again. You never know, world domination has to start somewhere.
What's left? How about my favorite photo of the year? When it comes to my thinking, darkness and chaos are always there. A clear sunny day doesn't really do anything for me (other than the chance to abuse a polarizer). A storm with an associated chaotic wind and biting rain probably reflects my mind more than anything and a day walk to Cape Woolamai at Phillip Island was my year highlight.
A short stroll on the open peninsula, whilst surrounded by storm clouds whipping across the ocean was pretty memorable. When it comes to taking photos, being in the right place at the right time comes down to a bit of luck and this was no different. I just happened to reach the highest point of Cape Woolamai when a visual onslaught, backlit by the sun, passed across the peninsula. I've never seen a cloud like it and probably won't for years to come. The result is easily my favorite photo of the year.
rain cloud over cape woolamai phillip island

That's it. Roll on 2014 and my wish is for some non-imploding vertebrae.
I guess this ended up being a bit of a photography only post? It makes sense then to finish up having gone the the full circle. For every picture which turns out okay, I always take dozens more to get to something I'm happy with. Lower Kalimna Falls was no exception, and on this occasion I left the shutter open too long and it captured Ben's headlamp as he walked away...
lower kalimna falls at night

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